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Sutton Talks Turkey With French Farmers

17 May 2001

New Zealand wanted a fair go for unsubsidised agricultural exports, not the destruction of the rural fabric of Europe, Agriculture and Trade Minister Jim Sutton said today after meeting French Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany and French farmers.

Mr Sutton is visiting Europe to meet with Ministerial counterparts and attend the OECD Ministerial Council meeting.

He said that in his meetings with Ministers in The Hague, Brussels and Paris, he had stressed New Zealand's key aim of abolishing export subsidies in the WTO agricultural negotiations.

"French farmers and Agriculture Minister Glavany have all made clear to me the value they attach to their rural way of life. I respect that point of view, because New Zealand too has rural communities, and we should be able to reconcile these two objectives. The key is to ensure that subsidies used to promote rural development and to protect the environment are kept separate from production, and that export subsidies are not used to offset high domestic prices".

Mr Sutton met French farmers during a visit to the countryside at the invitation of Mr Glavany, who made a similar visit to New Zealand farmers last September.

Earlier, Mr Sutton discussed the WTO negotiations with EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler in Brussels.

"From both I had the sense of a readiness to discuss all relevant issues in the ongoing agricultural negotiations and to work positively towards the launch of a broader WTO round in Doha in November. They are clearly seized of the need to show flexibility and engage with developing countries. That is very welcome", said Mr Sutton.

Mr Sutton travels on to Germany tomorrow for meetings with German farmers and the new Green Minister for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture, Renate Kuenast.

Office of Hon Jim Sutton


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